Can you hear that? (Dramatic pause) It’s the sound of a tree falling. Actually it’s the sound of millions of trees falling. It’s the sound of thousands of acres a day of tropical and lush rainforest the world over, falling to their bitter stumps, and we can’t here them, because we’re not there. (Pause) And can you hear that? It’s another sound of silence– it’s the sound of no one caring.
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What a difference a decade makes. It seems that only ten years ago, we were all wearing save the rainforest T-shirts, we were protesting pollution, we cared about global warming. If I remember correctly, Earth Day seemed to be a mandatory holiday in our nations’ public schools, with each student enthusiastically doing his or her part to save the world for our children, (subtle laugh) Today, we don’t wear save the rainforest shirts, we’ve somewhat lost our steam on the global warming front, and I challenge you to find a high school student that even knows what month Earth Day is in.
So what happened? Where did the train of environmental soundness jump its tracks^ It’s hard for anyone to deny that. As a society, we’ve all become a little less aware today of the environment we used to love with such undying emotional pain yesterday. So then, what happened”? The environment hasn’t disappeared; the problems of deforestation and over pollution still run rampant in our ecosystems, and the temperature of the earth is still gradually rising; so why do we just not seem to care as much as we did about saving our planet as we used to?.
Jeremy Rifkin, a former Stanford cultural anthropologist, offers the following explanation- simply, as a society, we just. moved on. In considering modem humanity, it is important to understand that our lives move in cycles; once we have grown tired of or feel we have exhausted one aspect or concern of our lives, in this case our worries of the environment, we simply move on to the next aspect which is most pertinent to our collective situation.